A relieved owner has been happily reunited with his much-loved dog this afternoon after it spent 30 hours trapped down a 14ft hole at Papamoa.
Fire crews from Papamoa and Mount Maunganui were called in to rescue the Irish setter this afternoon after it fell into the deep hole behind the Beach Road Veterinary Clinic yesterday morning.
Beach Road Veterinary Clinic and Saffy’s owner Brett Kirkland with trainee vet nurses Greer Young and Michaela Robson, next to the 14ft hole the dog spent 30 hours inside. Photo: David Tauranga.
The dog’s owner Brett Kirkland, who also owns the veterinary clinic, says the ordeal began early yesterday morning.
He’d been walking his two dogs through Simpson Reserve and was returning to the clinic when he noticed something missing – Saffy the Irish setter.
“My other dog was eating something she shouldn’t have been, so I was trying to get it off of her.
“I had only turned my back for only a second and when I looked back Saffy had disappeared off the face of the Earth.”
Brett spent all of yesterday scouring the area around the vet clinic looking for Saffy but found no trace of her.
Perplexed by the whole situation, today Brett examined the area behind the vet more closely saying either “a hole or aliens” were the cause of Saffy’s disappearance.
He then discovered a small hole covered over by grass. When he peered down inside he was greeted by Saffy’s face staring up at him from the bottom.
“She’s an old dog and her bark isn’t that loud anymore, which is why we didn’t hear her.
“By then she’d spent 30 hours down there and somewhere along the line my cat Zippy must have gone to investigate because it was down there too.”
After making the hole large enough for himself, Brett climbed into the hole and managed to retrieve the cat but was unable to rescue Saffy.
“So I called 111. Fire crews from Papamoa and Mount Maunganui showed up and managed to pluck her out in no time. It was brilliant.”
The hole is the remnants of an old septic tank that had been capped over with concrete but deteriorated over time.
He believes yesterday morning Saffy must have been walking over the septic tank when the concrete cap collapsed and plunged her down into the 14ft hole.
“We gave Saffy a check over and she is fine, that’s the most important thing. I’m just so pleased to have her back,” says Brett.